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tv   BOOK TV  CSPAN  August 23, 2015 4:30am-5:01am EDT

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>> if we can start with casey. >> will after the social movement days he became a politician and went to the state legislature and one of the pieces of legislation that he worked to get past was the changing of the state flag. >> well in the book, i say the boat to keep the flag was an early 21st century century insult to the black population of mississippi. certainly i would support changing the flag in the first referendum of that along with
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all the other has professional historians in the state issued a press release that was read on the capitol steps endorsing a new flag. that's my answer. >> talk about what senator might do, he was a loyalty to to his ancestor and his heritage, he had his name on the marker he went to gettysburg where they were killed and they told him there some land over there that they would like to buy but it was going to be buffered development. he went back and had the land purchase for the park service, so he was loyal to the college. given his years in service of the fact that he counted toward the end changed and mellowed a bit on segregation, i think he would probably vote now, i voted for it to be taken down in the first ballot. >> thank you.
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>> you have to look at ole ms. with how they built the conservative flag was such an integral part of the culture, and now you have both coaches and mississippi state calling for to be be taken down. it's sort of a fascinating look at the world and all of this. i would support it. absolutely. >> governor. >> the plague is not offensive to me, it's been the flag since 1894, it's been a flag for 50 years before i was born and for the whole 67 years i've been here. but it is offensive to some people, that is just a fact. i will say to you very plainly,
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people of mississippi should decide this question. they decide to take the flag and make it the plague in 1894, i wasn't governor at the time but they voted to keep it and they ought not to be sold by the new york times or nbc what they should do. they they don't want to be told that. there will be probably another referendum and i think the outcome will not be the same. there is a huge margin, it was before 2003 before i was governor and it won't surprise me if people choose to change the flag. the best way for that if that is what you want to happen, is fort
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not to be that we are going to cram this down your throat because our people are pigheaded and they don't like to be told what to do. that is just a fact. >> if we have the referendum how will you vote governor? >> being governor the last thing he ever wants to hear is the whole governor says so-and-so so i told somebody on tv when this all started that i was going to stay out of it because the new governor deserves. would never try to tell me what to what to do and i will never try to tell others what to do. old politicians need to go with the way of all generals. >> if i'm included with the question i would be happy to respond, the great-grandson of members of the confederate army in fact his great-grandson had slave holders i would in radically vote to change our flag. i was pleased to be asked to sign the advertisement that john grisham and greg house put
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together and it was in the jackson newspaper, i was pleased to be asked and delighted to sign it. >> thank you. we still have time for questions. >> the people of mississippi voted to keep the flag but clearly half of the people of mississippi were suppressed and intimidated from voting, so i believe there should be an executive action to remove the flag because of voters will be kept from expressing their beliefs. >> thank you. >> yes sir. >> hi senator, how are you governor? your governor back in 2001, i was one who wanted to change the plague because the plague really doesn't represent us. i say it in mississippi that's a
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slave and really there's a 3 million of us in mississippi, we love mississippi but 1 million afro-americans every time that flag flies is an insult to us. we gave gave 247 years of free labor to build this country and to build the south, 247 years! [applause]. it break our hearts to fly it, that remind us that we were slaves. we are better than that, as is date of 3 million people, 11 billion afro-americans let's get something that represents all of us because not any of us
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going anywhere. we love the state, but we hate to be embarrassed every time i come to this capital for the last 23 years and it's flying above the capitol reminded me that my ancestors were slaves after giving 247 years it meant nothing. we have enough decency in the state of mississippi that we change and get another emblem. thank you [applause]. >> i think before this issue is over, dennis mitchell will have a new chapter to add to his mississippi history. always a new chapter. yes ma'am. >> i have a question, it's not regarding the flag. i have two children and we have
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spent our whole year going through the state of mississippi and learning about the different history behind different places in mississippi, so on the same wavelength but on a different topic, it's very important for our children to understand the rich history that mississippi has and the people that helped build that so what i am wondering is how do we teach them about the history of mississippi? how do we from your perspective, i know the year the author of a new history of mississippi, how do we go about teaching our children these days and their young impressionable minds that mississippi is a great state, with perseverance, and with people that have a lot of character and a lot of resiliency, i guess in all, how do we move past the stigma that is on mississippi now? >> thank you. >> i would simply say to you that we are building today in
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mississippi history museum and next-door to it we are building a civil civil rights museum, take your children there, there'll be opened by the 200th anniversary statehood in december 2017. there'll be a lot of lessons for little a lot of lessons for little kids to get to learn, and see. let the children learn about katrina, learn about the lessons of katrina and the way people acted and that will give them a very positive attitude about mississippi and black and white, old and young, religious and nonreligious, all kind of people as curtis said, all kind of people work together to help each other in a really in a really terrible time. that is a good lesson for them to learn. >> so two years ago i took my grandson from new mexico on a two week two were of mississippi
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, you said you did that, i think that is a really good way to do it for children there is nothing like seeing, and touching, and experiencing. that trip with my grandson played a tremendous impression on him, he has never lived here but he went back home with a deep understanding about the state and because he had to listen to my history lecture the whole drive, he was appalled by some of the history of our race relations and that sort of thing. he also experienced the gulf of mexico for the first time, that
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warm water was so inviting i couldn't get him out of it. i would say the governor's right, the, the museum will make a contribution but it would also help to go and look at the other museums in the state, see the places, say go to matt mansions into her the homes, as you do it try to be able to tell the children the stories about what happened here. it will make a very deep impression on them. >> from an african-american perspective what are your thoughts question mark. >> one of the most important things one can do and i'm saying this in reference to what i did with my own child, is to try
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from the beginning to provide them with a framework of integrity for seeing. when you go around for show and tell for them to see various things in mississippi, make sure they see everybody's piece of mississippi and that provides them a frame work for engaging difficult pieces of that history when they encounter it later. it's the the framework integrity you give them in the beginning by showing them everything there is to see. it provides a basis for talking about more difficult stuff when you arrive there. >> thank you on that eloquent note. i think we are out of time, you have been great thank you to the panel.
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[applause]. thank you all for being here.
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>> you have been watching an author panel on the history of mississippi and some of its prominent residents. in about one hour we'll be back with more live coverage from the mississippi book festival. now book tv visited jackson mississippi last year to interview local authors and two are some of its literary sites, while we wait for the next panel from the festival to begin, here are those interviews.
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>> we are at prospect hill which is sort of the nexus of the whole story. it is a very odd story that few people know about and it encompasses the u.s. and africa and free colonies of the largest group that came from this plantation and immigrated to liberia in the 1940s. prospect hill was founded by isaac roth who is a revolutionary war veteran from south carolina, who came to the mississippi territory in 1808 with a large group of slaves and free blacks. some of the free blacks fought alongside the revolution the slaves themselves
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were mostly of mixed race and they came from several plantations in south carolina. so he came here and establish this plantation and arranged for the free blacks who fought with him to buy land in the area, he set up a sleigh base plantation standards was a fairly legality aryan arrangement. the slaves had a certain autonomy, he was obviously close to them and he never bought or sold anyone so the slaves became a tightknit community and when he realized he was going to die and the slaves would end up being slow old or become common slaves, he wrote in his will and the time of his daughter's death that the plantation would be sold and the money would be paid the way for the slaves would be
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free to liberia. the american colonization society was seemingly conflicting organizations or groups. one was abolitionist who felt they would make the emancipation more palatable by providing a mechanism for, essentially not deporting the free blacks but making it, and the south there's so much opposition because slaves in some areas such as this one outnumbered the slaveholders. there was a lot of resistance to freeing the slaves because then they would be in the minority. so the idea among the abolitionist woods if they could provide a way to remove part of that population that it would be more palatable to the south to accept the freeing of the slaves.
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there is also a group of slaveholders who supported it for basically the same reason, they felt it was inevitable that emancipation was going to come to pass and this was a way to remove a large population of free blacks. it wasn't totally ill let egalitarian in its approach, you couldn't just for you slave it was against the law, you had to
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have legislative approval which was not forthcoming and he felt this was the best chance they had to control the destiny. his daughter agreed, so he wanted to keep them in place until her death at which time they would be allowed to emigrate. his grandson contested the will and that's when the drama started. isaac wade was the grandson who contested the will, a young guy in his early 20s at the time, he didn't like the idea of selling the families plantation and giving the money to plantation and giving the money to the slaves and freeing them. so he contested the will, they went back and forth through all the local courts and eventually made its way to the mississippi supreme court. so for a decade it was tied up, during that time, as the story went, a group of the slaves became dissatisfied and felt like he was going to prevent them from migrating to liberia and they were not going to be free. so as the story went there was an uprising and they set fire to the house one night hoping to kill him. the house burned, a little girl died in the fire, the man was not injured but a group of 12 slaves were lynched afterwards from a tree, that i stole behind
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the house by one of the last descendents. so that was sort of the highest drama of the story and then after that the mississippi supreme court ruled in favor of the slaves, essentially. although it was a property issue , the court ruled that anyone has a right to do what they wants with their property at the time of their death so therefore no one can interfere with the freeing of these slaves and allowing them to immigrate. so isaac ross wade lost, then regained control of the property after this estate was settled and built the existing house on the side of the original were burned.
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he lived here, not all of the slaves immigrated, there were about 300, about 250 went to liberia and about 50 stayed for various reasons. their descendents still live in the area. in all of the accounts and documents, even even today when people describe they call it repressed relation and talk about them going back to africa, you have to understand that most of these people were americans, they had been here for three, four, five generations. it was not like they're going home. they were going back to. they were going back to the continent where their ancestors originally inhabited but is quite the risk on their parts. there were representatives of the colonization society there who set them up and they made their way to mississippi and africa and started from scratch basically.
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they started forming, and trading and building houses. that first year i'm sure, was sure, was really challenging for them. and the letters they wrote back to prospect hill, the only way to commute it with the slaves who stayed was to write isaac ross wade emily were always asking for things because there is a lot of shortages and they couldn't had everything they needed there. you can't overestimate the challenges they faced when they went. there is a lot of greek remodeled houses the slaves the built-in mississippi and in africa. across the river was louisiana in liberia which was settled by free slaves in, there
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is a georgia, kentucky and maryland county and all of those people came from those states in the us. so they took their culture, what they knew here, they are. they built houses like this one because after all, they are because after all, they are the ones who built this house. so they knew how to do it, there were a few of the free slaves who immigrated to liberia who made bad decisions, who enslaved local people. the slave trade was still going on and some of the indigenous groups were involved in slave trade, there is hostility immediately between them and the freed slaves who arrive. it sort of like the colonists in the u.s. and the native americans, that was there approach to the indigenous people and they were not allowed to vote, the first effort was aimed at documentation. i went through all of the court records and then i started trying to track down people. i have not thought starting out that i would end up with the civil war in south africa. it was basically between the descendents of the indigenous
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people in the freed slaves who had been sort of the upper class and had ruled over them. so i was like wow, it was here, the story was still playing out in the 1990s when i first started this mib area. so i thought i will just wait to the wars over and see if i can find these people. i found that they had settled in a place called mississippi, and africa. there's a parallel universe out there how can we not know what happened to the speed people, i have to find out. eventually. eventually it became apparent the war was going to go on the civil war in liberia went on from 1990 until 2003 so it became apparent that if i was going was going to find out how the story played out in west africa, i just had to go. fortunately in the capital the fighting had moved from the capital when i went. even though it was a war zone i wasn't really, really in the middle of the fighting, it just made it a little more complicated to do my
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research and a lot of the people have been displaced, but i found them. ultimately it paid off. i found that local people totally embraced what i was there there to do, people in my. recognized the u.s. is like the old country to them. it's also of course like people in developing regions of the world all over, it's a possibility for advancement, to have a contact in the u.s. so everybody wants to talk to you. as soon as i found out i was interested in mississippi and africa, in open doors everywhere. i. i remember i was in a walled compound which was at a hotel with all of these people with gun dealers and drug dealers, missionaries, it, it was a very
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weird mix of people and the first night i was there i talked to the bartender and he asked while i was here? i said i was planning to find people who immigrated to mississippi in africa and he said where you from? and i said i was from mississippi and i asked where he was from and he said he was from mississippi too. i said are are you talk about mississippi in africa or the u.s. and he said both. so the story of prospect hill was still being told in that context because they knew that was their identity is that they had come there, they had been educated, they had a little bit of money and they came. they have a very complex history to but everybody i met embraced
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me warmly, they're very interested and if anyone cared they know everything about what is going on in the u.s. and they really don't understand why no one in the u.s. understands who they are. they feel such a such a strong connection to america and most americans couldn't tell you the difference between liberia and libya. even as i was writing the story, there are people here today who are white and they see the story one way, they are out here because they're fascinated because maybe they are related by blood to it. we we also had groups out here that were black who related to the story in a completely different way. my whole goal was to try to include all of those versions of the story because it is a story about access to power and this is what you can learn about that to a group who is denied that access for so long. then see what happened when they had gained access which is some people made bad decisions, some slaveowner owners were wretched
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human beings and committed atrocities against people because they could, because they had the power. you had free slaves who immigrated to liberia who basically did the same thing, it's human nature, some people are going to go too far. what i would talk about this many times to white groups, they would look kind of smug and so they did the same thing like we did. i don't think it's as simple as that, i think it's i think it's a story of some people going too far and some people trying to do the right thing, you have plenty of both in the story. race just took on a whole new meeting to me through the story. i don't profess to understand fully by any means, but it made me understand that there are many different ways that history is made and all you should
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really do is ensure that everybody has the opportunity which had not been the case, certainly in mississippi history until recently. [inaudible] interview was taped about a year ago in jackson mississippi one


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